Psalm 74

Psalm 74

Temple can be destroyed!

Israel believed that the Jerusalem Temple would not be destroyed because there was God. However, they did not know that God could leave the Temple! In the Gospel of John, Jesus said to the people in the temple, “You have made the house of prayer a dungeon of robbers.” Then he turned the tables up Jesus showed that the Temple can be destroyed. Now the psalmist vividly described the humiliation that the temple experienced.

 O God, why do you cast us off forever?Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture?Remember your congregation, which you acquired long ago,which you redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage. Remember Mount Zion, where you came to dwell.Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins;the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary.Your foes have roared within your holy place;they set up their emblems there.At the upper entrance they hackedthe wooden trellis with axes. And then, with hatchets and hammers,they smashed all its carved work.They set your sanctuary on fire;they desecrated the dwelling place of your name,bringing it to the ground.They said to themselves, ‘We will utterly subdue them’;they burned all the meeting places of God in the land.We do not see our emblems;there is no longer any prophet,and there is no one among us who knows how long.How long, O God, is the foe to scoff?Is the enemy to revile your name forever? Why do you hold back your hand;why do you keep your hand in[b] your bosom?

When the Temple was destroyed, however, God was not dead.

Temple was not God. Temple was not God’s cage. God was bigger than the Temple. God was greater than the religion of the Israelites. When the Temple was destroyed, the psalmist had to remember that God was much bigger than one nation.

Yet God my King is from of old,working salvation in the earth. You divided the sea by your might;you broke the heads of the dragons in the waters.You crushed the heads of Leviathan;you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.You cut openings for springs and torrents;you dried up ever-flowing streams.Yours is the day, yours also the night;you established the luminaries[d] and the sun.You have fixed all the bounds of the earth;you made summer and winter.

God is still powerful and the covenant with God is still effective. Then what is the issue?

If God is the King of the kings and the covenant between God and God’s people is still strong, then there are only two options for the people of God: Wait with trust or repent their sins. If we found our sins, repentance will bring God back to the relationship. If we are innocent, we can wait for the right time for God to act.

“Remember this, O Lord, how the enemy scoffs,and an impious people reviles your name.Do not deliver the soul of your dove to the wild animals;do not forget the life of your poor forever.Have regard for your covenant, for the dark places of the land are full of the haunts of violence.Do not let the downtrodden be put to shame;let the poor and needy praise your name.Rise up, O God, plead your cause;remember how the impious scoff at you all day long.Do not forget the clamor of your foes,the uproar of your adversaries that goes up continually.”

We start examining ourselves. Then we will decide whether we will repent or accuse others. Whether we humble ourselves or we cry out to God. Outside conditions are actually not a big problem. It is just our relationship with God that matters.

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